A rust paint review of the KBS frame coater kit
This kit Includes AuquaKlean, Rustblast and Rustseal
While replacing the motor in this 86 GMC, the engine compartment was stripped clean and the frame sealed using the 3 part Frame Coater Kit. I'll take you through the 3 step rust protection process using the kit I purchased on line at KBS Coatings.
In a nutshell the 3 steps are:
- Degreasing using the Aqua Clean
- Rust removal using the Rust Blast
- The rust paint process using the KBS Rust Seal
I chose to use the KBS Coatings frame coater kit which includes these 3 parts.
Some of the frame under the hood was rusty and some of it wasn't. The part that wasn't rusty was because of being greasy. Par for the course when it comes to engine compartments.
Degreasing using the KBS Coatings Aqua CleanThe KBS rust paint process started with removing a lot of heavy grease buildup on the frame and other engine compartment components. I just didn't have the time or the patience to scrape any of this off by hand so the 1850 pressure washer I bought at Sears a year ago was my first choice. The pressure washer did a first rate job even though there was some extra thick grease that didn't come off the first time around.
A safety reminder
You'll need to be sure to wear eye protection. You get a bit dirty from the splashback when using a pressure washer in an enclose space like this under the hood. There's plenty of corners and nooks and crannies to turn the water around on you. Some of the water that comes back at you could have sand or other nasty bits in it.
How effective was the Aqua Clean?
The instructions on the KBS Auqua Clean tell you not to use any other degreasers in advance of using Aqua Clean so I mixed the solution at a 5 to 1 ratio of water to solution. They recommended a 1 to 1 ratio for heavy buildup which I tried first but it just didn't cut some of the old thick grease the pressure washer didn't get off. It would cut the surface layer of the grease but didn't have the disolving strength it needed to cut right through it.
The recommended use for heavily soiled surfaces was to keep the surface saturated with Aqua Clean for around 30-40 minutes. Considering I was doing this outdoors the week after the clocks rolled back to standard time, I got home from work at 4:45PM and it was dark out at 5:30, it wasn't very practical to continue cleaning the frame this way. I just didn't have the time.
Even though the performance of the Aqua Clean wasn't practical for my time constraints, I tried using it on some mildy greasy surfaces to see how well it cut grease anyway.I tried it on my hands and on some parts in the engine compartment. In this picture you can see how the Aqua Clean cleaned the palm of my hand after spraying it a couple of times in the span of a minute and simply wiping my hand with a clean rag. Pretty impressive really. It left my hand feeling squeeky clean where I used the Aqua Clean. Not even hand cleaner does that. The Aquaklean did a masterful job of cleaning the patina off the windshield wiper fluid reservoir that even the pressure washer couldn't get off. I didn't need to put a lot of effort into it. Simply using a new paint brush on the reserviour after the Aqua Clean sat for a minute did the trick. Afterwards I hosed it off with the garden hose at first and finished with the pressure washer, but the pressure washer made no improvement on it.
So, now back to the frame.
Out came the laquer thinner. The laquer thinner cut the grease like a hot knife through butter, and the water hose rinsed it off clean. This was definitely the way to go to get the thick grease off quickly although the beading water on parts of the frame told me there was still a film of something left behind.
I didn't have much daylight to play with each day so I worked on this every day after work, then took Friday off to get the frame coated with the KBS rust paint. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday I used Laquer thinner and a brush to clean the grease off followed by the pressure washer.
I'll do the final wash with Aquakleen on Friday morning before hitting it with the KBS Rustblast and then the final rust paint process with Rustseal.
Friday morning, Rust paint day.
I'm bent on getting the KBS rust paint on this thing in one day and heading down the road at dinner time to the Outer Banks to spend the weekend there for the OBX marathon with my wife and some friends.
I was up at 7AM and outside at 9AM. I had to get the frame cleaned with the KBS Coatings Aqua clean and prepared with the Rust Blast, and have the frame dried and ready for the KBS Rustseal rust paint by noon.
A final wash with Aquakleen
After the final degreasing with Aquakleen there were no more spots on the frame where water would bead up. As far as I could tell it was squeaky clean.
Rustblast put to the testThe spray bottle supplied with the frame coater kit was just what was needed for the Rustblast since it was prone to evaporating so fast.
The directions called for keeping the frame saturated with the Rustblast for at least 20 minutes and not letting it dry until after it was rinsed off. I kept spraying the Rustblast on every 3-5 minutes or so. In this time I decided to play with the Rustblast a bit to see how effective it really was.The first test was simply rubbing the top side of the crossmember where there was only surface rust and the Rustblast has been on there for at least 10 minutes. What you see here to the left is after rubbing for less that a minute
So now I wonder what kind of damage a wire brush would do to the same spot I rubbed with my hand after the Rustblast had been on there about 20 minutes. It looks like it does a really nice job to me. Using Rustblast this way might not be practical for big jobs though. Having to wire brush a frame just isn't the best use of time or energy.
Using Rustblast like this would seem to be a good way to cleanly remove rust from smaller projects however. I think the primary objective of using Rustblast is to prepare the rusty metal to receive the Rustseal rust paint, so I won't be obsessed with removing all the rust.I did try one more test though just to see how effective rustblast is on thicker rust. Here's another spot where I used the wire brush on top of the crossmember (just behind the large hole) where the rust had pitted the metal surface. It's easy to see how the combination of the rustblast and the wire brush removed some of the rust but the amount of work it would take to do this with a large surface area is impractical. I don't know how long you'd need to soak it in Rustblast to get it to come completely clean, but I'm not trying to do that with this project.
Another practical use for Rustblast
I still see a very practical application for Rustblast that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere in the KBS Coatings materials.
For someone who was restoring a car and needed to sandblast their rusty frame or any other parts, Rustblast would do a lot to inhibit the rust from returning. Even if the sandblasted parts did flash rust, the Rustblast would be a good protector since it leaves a phosphate coating behind.
Rust paint time!
FINALLY! Here comes the easy part. The KBS frame coater kit supplies you with a pair of nitrile gloves and now seems like the appropriate time to use them.
The KBS frame coater kit also comes with a couple of natural bristle paint brushes. My experience with these natural bristle brushes tells me that they shed bristles and would leave them in wet rust paint, so I used my own nylon bristle brushes. You'll find the KBS rust paint doesn't flow well using standard square tipped brushes, especially in seams and tight corners. It leaves more rust paint behind went painting across corners or edges. The KBS rust paint flows best using the tapered tip of the bristle brushes, but like I said the bristle brushes shed and getting the bristles out of your wet rust paint is really annoying.
If you're working on a nice restoration piece and you don't want to deal with pulling bristles out of your rust paint, get some better quality brushes before starting.
The rust paint portion of the job took the least amount of time. I was pretty much done in 2 hours even with all the nooks and crannies that I had to get the rust paint into. It looks really nice now. I was expecting it to have less gloss when it finished drying though. It really looks more like a semi gloss than a satin finish. If this were a nice restoration project I would have opted for less gloss.
After cleaning up I hit the road for the weekend.
A few days later...When I got back home I found some pretty big bubbles in the rust paint. The bubbles appeared to be a product of the excess rust paint the nylon brush was leaving behind. The excess rust paint had slowly run down some of the frame sections and pooled in spots. It's these pooling spots where the bubbles formed in the rust paint. I recall reading in the documentation that came with the KBS frame coater kit that this would happen if you put the paint on too thick. So, I got caught by this one. That's what happens if you don't have the time to stick around and use a brush to spread out the runs in the rust paint. I might have gotten around this problem by heeding my own advice and getting a better quality tapered tip brush. Even though I used scissors to taper the nylon brush, it just didn't work as well as the natural bristle.... I didn't have any bristles in my rust paint though.
The KBS Coatings sales experience
Aside using the products, ordering the KBS frame coater kit was painless and the kit showed up in a few days without delay in a well padded box. I opened it right away to check the contents and found it contained a few more items than I was expecting. I don't recall reading about anything other than the 3 containers of product in the KBS frame coater kit.
- A spray bottle
- A pair of Nitrile gloves
- A couple of natural bristle brushes
- A stir stick
- Satin Rustseal (rust paint)
- AquaKleen (degreaser)
- Rustblast (rust converter)
What was lacking in the KBS frame coater kit
If there was anything about the frame coater kit that needs improvement it would be the brush quality and it would be nice to have 2 pairs of nitrile gloves. Since they recommend doing 2 coats of Rustseal, one pair wasn't enough for 2 coats. I only did one.
I used all the AquaKleen and could have used more. The frame was pretty gummy and there is no way I could have done this with a quart of Aquakleen alone. I had to reserve the Aquakleen for the final step in the cleaning or I would have run out long before the frame was ready for Rustblast and Rustseal.
I see many uses for Aquakleen other than degreasing metal parts. This product removes very old soot from the engine compartment of my truck far better than anything else I've used. It left my inner fender wells looking like new and didn't harm the paint. If I had more I'd see what it could do with old interior vinyl.
Scrubbing the frame with any cleaner alone is entirely impractical. You need a pressure washer.I would estimate that 80% of the work in applying the KBS frame coater kit is in the cleaning and preparation process.
The Rustblast went a long way when using it from a spray bottle. I still have about 2/3 of the bottle left. Yes, the Rustblast does dissolve rust.
I only used a bit less than half the quart of Rustseal. Other than the bubbling problem where the Rustseal pools, I think it is a good rust paint.
If you look at the first picture above with the caption "Bubbles in the rust paint" you'll notice a long bubble wrapping around the bottom edge of the nut. You'll need to be careful painting around things like this. Be sure there is no excess rust paint or it will bubble.
Would I buy the KBS Rustseal Frame Coater Kit again?
Absolutely! For the first time using the KBS Rustseal I was impressed with some of the basic features. It flows very well so you don't need to do a lot of surface smoothing work like sanding. It fills minor blemishes in the rusted metal very well and that's a big labor saver. Extra care needs to be taken in being sure you don't leave any runs or other thick deposits of KBS RustSeal that would be prone to bubbling.